ESB Science Blast

The ESB Science Blast 2019 took place in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall last Wednesday and Thursday, June 5th and 6th – and it didn’t disappoint.

The aim of the event was to get primary schools (ages 7 to 12) to explore the world around them and to work together in their classes – using the scientific method of observing, measuring and experimenting – to probe and evaluate the nature of all things magnificent, puzzling or downright bizarre.

And so, like some sort of Avengers Assemble of science enthusiasts, more than 40 schools showed up – including some of Nerve Belfast’s past and present Partnership schools – to showcase their investigations in front of their peers and a panel of scrupulous judges, including Nerve Belfast’s own Barry Brennan and Ruth Davidson.

Some of the investigations included: ‘What are the best materials to use in the protection of astronauts and technology in space?’, ‘What is the best liquid to use in a homemade battery?’, and ‘How do bridges work?’

You know, basic stuff.

The Nerve Belfast stall proved to be, as with every previous year, hugely popular thanks to its combination of quirky gadgets, such as the miniature RaspberryPi-run retro arcade cabinet (PiCade) that had long queues of children forming in a desperate bid to topple Nerve’s longstanding PacMan high score (an 8-year-old managed it in the end), and cutting-edge technology like the VR headset goggles, 3D printers and the programable Sphero robots.

And now some quotes

We know that participation in ESB Science Blast is a huge boost for students’ ability and confidence in science and maths. But we have also found that there are many other benefits too in areas of teamwork, communication and creative thinking. This is our third year in Belfast but our first as ESB Science Blast and we have been delighted with all the work that the students have put into their investigations, with some great help from their teachers who are vital to the programme’s overall success.

Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS

Participation in events like ESB Science Blast helps to equip children with the crucial 21stcentury skills, supporting them not only to become creative and innovative problem solvers, but also active and engaged citizens, capable of making informed choices to tackle climate change and other global challenges.

Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive ESB spoke about the partnership with RDS and a shared commitment to promote STEM education and learning

Science Blast is an amazing way for children to learn. It is one of the best examples of science learning that I have seen and it also has so many other benefits for the participating students. Scientists work the same way as children, playing, experimenting, finding things out, all are part of the everyday experience for both children and scientists.

Colette Murphy, Science and Maths Education Professor at Trinity College Dublin addressed a breakfast of STEM and education stakeholders

If you’re interested in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math), please check our website and take a look at our upcoming events and courses throughout the year. For teachers we have a STEAM day in our Primary Support Week that would be quite useful to attend, details below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/steam-day-tickets-61184437299

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